Be firm in your purpose.

December 28th, 2012

This is the New Year’s post that I find worthy of annual restatement. Because as definite as you are about what you want to achieve in 2013, it’s even more important to be firm in your purpose to feel good. How you feel is the true measurement of your energy. As you think, so you feel.

So as you write down in the coming days what it is you want to accomplish over the next year, please add these few suggestions* of focused feelings and attitudes to your work-in-progress list:

  1. I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my tendencies, and my likes and dislikes, realizing that these form my unique individuality. I have them for a reason.
  2. I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments, and I will be as vigorous in listing these – and as rigorous in remembering them – as I have ever been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.
  3. I will remember the tremendous energy and potential that lies within me to create that which I can imagine for myself.
  4. I will realize that my professional future is a probability. In terms of everyday experiences, nothing exists there yet. It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present. Therefore I will plant accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by focusing on how I want and expect the future to be for me.

Whether it’s today, next week or next month, you get to choose what you’ll be focused on. So think big and feel good in the expectation of it. Your time to create a life of personal and professional freedom, growth and happiness starts right now. Happy New Year!

*This list is adapted from one given to Jane Roberts and Robert Butts by Seth on New Year’s Day, 1979.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The “O” in empowering.

December 7th, 2012

I never did watch The Oprah Winfrey Show, but I also wasn’t released recently from a North Korean prison camp either. I know who the woman is, and I follow her life of achievement and influence in the news. Most noteworthy for me was the 2007 launch of her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

I learned Monday from her Empower Yourself blog post in The Huffington Post that Oprah Winfrey teaches a weeklong course for the Academy’s 12th graders at the end of each year called Life 101. Her goal for the curriculum is to impart these young women with everything she wishes someone had told her before heading off to college. And she shares her top five favorite lessons.

I was so curious to know what this smart and powerful communicator considered the most important lessons to becoming your best self and living your best life. They are so simple. And you’ve read about them here. Oprah’s lessons are focused on personal leadership, the limitless energy of thought, a positive mental attitude, strong beliefs, purpose, passion, action and service.

Her first lesson is based on the line from the classic poem Invictus: “You are the master of your fate and captain of your soul.”

Her second lesson: “You become what you believe, not what you wish for, and every choice makes it so.”

Please read the full post to get the last three of her top fave lessons. No matter what your present career or path in life, her words of wisdom are great reminders for every year-end that leads to a new year.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


The best Thanksgiving appetizers ever.

November 24th, 2012

If the Higgs boson were the first course on a Prix Fixe menu, then your main course selections would include Supersymmetry, Dark Matter, Extra Dimensions, Microscopic Black Holes or Multiverse. That’s what New York University physicists Kyle Cranmer and Neal Weiner served up last week at a lecture titled “The Higgs Boson: Theory & Experiment, Search & Discover.” The NYU Experimental High Energy Physics Group has played a key role in the worldwide collaboration in the search for the Higgs boson.

In July, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, announced that they found convincing evidence of a new particle called the Higgs boson, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. Sometimes called the “god particle,” the Higgs boson is a sub-atomic particle that is a building block of the universe; the particle that is believed to imbue all other particles with mass.

In their presentation on how scientists made the discovery and why it’s significant, Weiner and Cranmer offered a preview of what’s likely to come in our new “era of data,” where the scientific community has tremendous amounts of information about nature all at one time.  The LHC was taking 40 million photos per second! And by the end of the year there’s expected to be three times more data than was available before the Higgs announcement.  They said if particle physicists have the Higgs, eventually they can find dark matter.

I appreciate the way quantum physicists think. They don’t ask what will happen, only what can happen.

Inspired by their menu, I discovered a mouth-watering appetizer of my own this year. Feel free to try it over the upcoming holidays.

Centered leadership: Not for women only.

November 16th, 2012

A record number of women were elected to the U.S. Congress last week. You know that, of course, but I like repeating the fact as often as I can. It speaks loudly to the benefits of gender diversity in leadership. And it reminds me of a groundbreaking model for leadership developed almost a decade ago by Director Joanna Barsh and her colleagues at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

What began in 2004 as the McKinsey Leadership Project – a study of what drives and sustains successful female leaders – identified a set of five capabilities that generated high levels of professional performance and life satisfaction. Barsh and her team used these interrelated potentialities to comprise their model of “centered leadership.” And their continued research confirmed that the model is equally useful to all leaders, not just women.

Here’s how they described the five capabilities of centered leadership in Sept. 2008:

Meaning: Finding your strengths and putting them to work in the service of an inspiring purpose;

 Managing energy: knowing where your energy comes from, where it goes, and what you can do to manage it;

Positive framing: adopting a more constructive way to view your world, expand your horizons, and gain the resilience to move ahead even when bad things happen;

 Connecting: Identifying who can help you grow, building stronger relationships, and increasing your sense of belonging; and

Engaging: finding your voice, becoming self-reliant and confident by accepting opportunities and the inherent risks they bring, and collaborating with others.

An Oct. 2010 McKinsey Quarterly piece validated the power of these ideas. After a worldwide survey of executives, Barsh and team found that a leader who had mastered even one of the above skills was twice as likely as those who mastered none to believe s/he could lead through change.

How do you rate yourself on each? How might your team rate you? Is there an attribute you’d like to enhance?


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On individual responsibility and leadership.

November 9th, 2012

Today, which falls exactly between the 2012 U.S. presidential election and our honored observance of Veterans Day, I can think of no more meaningful words on individual responsibility and leadership than these, delivered by President Barack Obama in Chicago after winning re-election:

“The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us but what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

“This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

“What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

“The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.”

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